Georgia House approves bill targeting slowpokes

| 4/6/2010

A bill to keep slowpoke drivers to the right is picking up speed in the Georgia statehouse.

The House voted 129-29 to advance a bill to the Senate that is intended to increase safety on highways by cutting down on traffic congestion and driver frustration. Law enforcement would be allowed to crack down on slow-moving vehicles that clog traffic by driving in the left lanes.

At least 20 states have similar left-lane restriction rules, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In recent months, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Kansas have enacted laws to limit left-lane use.

The Georgia statehouse action is welcome news to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president, said it is common sense to have rules in place to encourage that slower vehicles yield to faster traffic.

Georgia law already makes it a misdemeanor to impede traffic by driving slower than the speed limit in the left-hand lane of multi-lane highways “once such person knows or should reasonably know that he is being overtaken in such lane from the rear.” Sponsored by Rep. Mark Butler, R-Carrollton, the bill would impose a minimum fine of $75 for vehicles not traveling at the maximum posted speed limit in the left lane.

High-occupancy vehicle and high-occupancy toll lanes would be excluded. In addition, anyone traveling the speed limit in the left lane would not be required to make way for another vehicle exceeding the speed limit.

The bill – HB1047 – is in the Senate Public Safety Committee.

The pursuit of keeping motorists up to speed in the left lane comes about a year after the Legislature passed a law getting tough with excessive speeders. The so-called “super-speeder” law applies to anyone caught driving more than 85 mph on interstates and four-lane roads, or more than 75 mph on two-lane roads.

Violators have an additional $200 tacked onto traffic tickets.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Georgia, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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